A Big Mistake

My favorite story growing up, was the story my mom would tell about my grandma letting a skunk in the house.  Some background on my Grandma Loo, she was partially blind from shooting accident with her brother in her teens.  She also had a large black cat with (as my mom would say) a tail so long a fluffy you could wear it like a boa when you held her in your arms.  Her, my grandfather, and my mom lived on a few acres outside of Midway, Utah, where they raised a few cows, pigs, goats, horses, and chickens.  CoCo (the cat) would stay outside most of the day and night, but would come in if she ever got scared or during storms.

For a few weeks, they were having trouble with raccoons breaking into the chicken pen and killing hens so Pop had set out some traps to catch the critters and keep them away from the chickens.  Mom would tell me the trap was useless sitting there bone dry without any sort of bait in it, how would they catch any animals in it? So when she saw Pop getting frustrated over the lack of animals in the traps, she decided to use some canned chicken to bait the trap and help her dad.  The problem is, she didn’t realize that he hadn’t baited the trap because Loo would’ve killed him if he trapped her precious kitty.

Now, I’m sure you can imagine what happened the night after mom baited the trap – Grandma was sitting in her rocking chair doing I can’t remember what, when she heard the trap outside snap shut and could all of a sudden smell skunk.  Worried that CoCo was sprayed she opened the door to bring her cat inside, and luckily she was standing right on the porch.  Grandma couldn’t get her to come inside, so she opened a can of chicken and left it with the door cracked so she could come in when she wanted and then went to get Pop and tell him the trap had caught something.  When he checked the traps, what he found was grandma’s favorite cat hunched angrily inside and canned chicken on her whiskers.  Grandma Loo was of course startled when he told her because, “she had just let CoCo inside.  Panicked, they searched the house high and low until they found who grandma thought was CoCo.  A large skunk, curled up with it’s tail raised, was hissing defensively inside of the pantry.  Of course, my mom was in trouble for baiting the trap, Loo gave Pop the silent treatment for trapping her kitty, and it took Pop all night to get the skunk out of the house using a trail of anchovies and canned chicken.

Only in the Movies

I think rats are good for a lot of things, like as chefs in a restaurant in Paris or as dinner for Shrek and Donkey; okay basically, they are only good in movies.  What I don’t think rats are good for, are party guests so imagine my dismay when I found out I have rats under my deck DURING a party that I was throwing! I WAS NOT VERY AMUSED THAT’S FOR SURE.  I’m not even necessarily that upset about the rats being there, I mean it’s a rental property it’s not even my problem to pay for.  What I was (and am) upset about, is that I had to find out while sitting in the hot-tub with who could have been the love of my life.

It was like something straight out of the movies man, I can’t believe my (bad) luck.  Picture this: I’m in the hot-tub gazing into the blue eyes of the cutest girl on campus, my buddies and the rest of the girls all went inside to give me some alone time to finally make my move.  As I lean in for what I’m sure would’ve been the most amazing, fireworks kind of a kiss, she screams and shoots to the other side of the tub.  Since it couldn’t have been my breath she was screaming at, I turn around just in time to watch a rat run down the hot-tub steps and under the deck. When my friend Darren looked at me and said the obvious “dude, I think you have rats under your deck”, everyone left as fast as they could, and I could’ve punched him.

Two days later, I haven’t heard from her, and she’s not responding to my texts.  My dreams were shattered by Ratatouille!  She’s going to remember me as the guy with rats in his deck – that sounds like a disease! I don’t want to be that guy! My landlord is calling around trying to find a company to get rid of them, but I’m so angry I could probably tear up the deck and go full Rambo on them.  Hopefully it will get taken care of, and I can be the guy that got rid of the rats under the deck and gets a second chance.  I guess we’ll see.

Cooper the Raccoon

There’s a raccoon in our shed, and unfortunately my son is quite fond of it.  It’s been there all summer and surprisingly it never had babies, so we think it’s a male.  He wanders in and out at night, exploring around the house and going wherever raccoons go.  He’s not afraid of us at all and once when I was sitting outside past dark, he walked right under my deck chair and around the house (which gave me quite the start, of course).  My 6 year-old son Kaden absolutely adores him, and will watch out his bedroom window before bedtime to watch Cooper “leave for his adventures”.  He asks me all the time where he goes, what he does, if I think he meets any other raccoons.  To him, this raccoon is a living story book, but to me, it’s just a pest that guards my shed and everything I’ve stored in there.  The only problem is he guards them FROM US.

We are remodeling our backyard, and unfortunately that means we need to tear down the shed and rebuild it because it’s just a shabby old thing (how do you think a raccoon got into it?)  In order to tear it down we need to move all of the stuff from inside of it, but of course the good ole’ raccoon in the shed isn’t about to just let us walk into his den.  If we try, we are met with growls very angry raccoon eyes; and I am not about to wait until its 10 pm and the raccoon is out on an “adventure” to try and move my things.  I would just block the hole he uses to get in if I didn’t think he would rip it off to get back inside.  And of course I don’t want to lock him inside to starve! Or at least I don’t think I do.

What I really need, is for someone to come and relocate the raccoon from the shed.  Preferably, without Kaden seeing or knowing anything about it, but I’d rather explain to him why Cooper had to go explore somewhere else than why Cooper got smashed inside of the old shed when it was torn down.  The sooner we can get rid of him, the sooner I can get a new shed and the happier I will be! This will be Cooper the Raccoon’s greatest adventure yet.

An Unexpected Move

I have voles in my basement, which sounds crazy considering they live and tunnel under grass.  Honestly, when I heard other people talk about having voles in their homes anywhere, I would roll my eyes because to me it seemed obvious that only mice (not voles) get inside of houses.  I WAS WRONG!  At first, I even thought my own rodent problem was mice and not voles, I was completely convinced that a vole couldn’t get inside, and my husband was more than happy to say “I told you so”, when we got the news.

We have had a very prevalent vole problem since earlier in spring, they tore apart our grass leaving trails and dead grass in their wake; and they killed my husband’s vegetable garden!  They ate through everything they could find including the flower beds; basically, almost everything in our backyard is either dead or dying because of these nasty rodents.  My husband was very upset about the loss of his vegetables, so he decided to start a small garden in the basement and try to get somewhat of a harvest.  What we couldn’t believe was when, somehow, the voles got into the basement and started slowly working their way through that garden as well.

I saw one run from the basement garden to a crack in the wall and vanish, and later that day our dog was barking and digging at the outside part of the home that almost directly lines up with the crack in the basement.  Then, I came face to face with one when I was doing laundry and I couldn’t deny the truth any longer: I had voles in my basement.  Now, we just need to figure out how to REMOVE the voles from the basement, which is our number one priority at this point.  I may have been wrong about what kind of rodent it was, but I’m not wrong when I say that it can’t stay.